Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why Marissa Mayer will be good for Yahoo


The tons of advise Marissa receives from all directions can be summarized by two quotes.

“Bringing in Marissa Mayer gets people’s attention,” said David Hallerman, a principal analyst at eMarketer. “The sheer attention that they are getting because of hiring her will be helpful for a while. But it will only carry them so far,” he warned.
Deal Book writes
For weeks, experts had been predicting the appointment of Ross Levinsohn, a gregarious executive who was Yahoo’s head of global media before he became interim C.E.O. The company was expected to focus on its media and advertising businesses, and Mr. Levinsohn, with his deep ties to Madison Avenue, fit that bill
 Marissa's response stated clearly
  I am a product person and I like design a lot and I like innovation
 
This is a blog about Product Management essentially and Marissa statements are music to our ears. As I wrote in this blog in June 2006,  "We need more Chief Product Managers as CEOs"
 
What is new in 2012 is  the proliferation of the ideas of Steve Blank, , Bob Dorf  and Alexander Osterwalder on how to generate a business model that creates products with steady and scalable revenues. As I summarized it on Ahrono Associates web site
Startups do not execute business plans, they go from failure to failure until they define themselves. Startups are not versions of larger companies. A startup is a temporary organization designed to search for repeatable and scalable business models

Large companies will discover that when providing new cloud offerings or any other ground breaking offerings, they must create departments and / or subsidiaries  behaving as small businesses 
  • A startup answers the question "Where will the money come from?"
  • Business plan was used for startups for decades,yet  no startup business plan survives the first meetings with the customers.
  • The Customer Development Team replaces the traditional Sales, Marketing and Bizdev. The team's mission is to validate the revenues model and business assumptions in front of customers. The team MUST HAVE a founder with the authority to change the company strategy
  • We use the Business model Canvas
  • Customer Archetypes.  A complete story of who they are and what they want, to use in both product and customer development
  • Sales Closer is the person in the customer development team responsible to "close" the early evangelis sales to key customers. They are not sales managers and will not become sales managers.

This is exactly the situation Yahoo is in today. Whatever strategy and products Marissa will focus on,   under the pretext of a product presentation, the customer acquisition teams visit as many as 100 customers each and get them talk in order to fill  the following table

List of Problems
Today's Solution
New Solution
1
1
1
2
2
2
3
3
3
 ...
 ...
 ...

 This is disarmingly simple to do, yet Yahoo did not do it. Like many large companies and arrogant management, they thought they were above the elementary. See for example how gmail.com overtook yahoo.com as #1 mail application.

Relying more the lean company terminology of Blank et al, Marissa will pivot towards solutions that create healthy growth and customers Yahoo really wants.
 
The secret of success is to read the results with intelligence, intuition and expanded consciousness. Marissa has all this.

This is where Marissa will excel, by re-building health

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